A New Year and New Administration: Priorities for New York City in 2022
As we all reflect on our own resolutions to improve our lives in the new year, Capalino wants to share some ideas to help the entire city thrive as New York City welcomes Mayor Eric Adams and his new administration
On January 1st, 2022, over 70% of elected government positions turned over. This includes the Mayor, Comptroller, four of five Borough Presidents, and over 35 Council seats. Along with this transition will be hundreds of new appointed government leaders in Agencies and City Hall. Businesses and non-profits consequently will have to adjust their strategies while government brings a fresh mindset to addressing issues that pertain to our quality of life and economic success.
Mayor Adams, to his credit, is off to a great start. To prepare a new government, he initially appointed a group of nearly 800 people to a ‘transition team’ — “an unprecedented collection of great minds and hard-working New Yorkers who will prepare my administration for success,” he said. This included Capalino team members Tunisha Walker-Miller, who was part of the Economic and Workforce Development transition team, and Fred Kreizman, former Capalino Managing Director, who was on the transition team and was recently appointed as Commissioner of the Mayor’s Community Affairs Unit.
Mayor Adams has appointed a group of experienced, results-oriented people as Deputy Mayors, Senior Advisors and Commissioners to make government work effectively and empathetically. As individuals who have worked closely with, or in, government for decades, the talent assembled gives us confidence that our government is ready to carry out bold changes to tackle important economic and social issues. For our clients and friends, this should give you confidence to propose new ideas for business growth in NY and to think strategically about how your relationship with the administration could be strengthened. We are, as always, here to help.
So, what are some ideas for our new government?
Of critical importance, of course, is effectively dealing with the Covid pandemic. The new administration needs to provide the help and care required to assist the people, families and communities that have been impacted by the pandemic, particularly in vulnerable communities. As the pandemic has unearthed various issues, now is the time to simplify government by reducing bureaucracy and to improve communication to enable particularly small, community-based businesses and MWBE’s to thrive. Inclusive growth needs to be a centerpiece of the economic development agenda.
Restoring faith in government is another top priority. With a historic citywide leadership transition in 2022, Mayor Adams has the opportunity to build back trust in government by continuing to select the right people, improve efficiencies, quickly address community concerns and focus attention on the greatness of New York City in all five boroughs.
Our industry subject matter experts also weighed in on specific policy ideas to spark success and how our firm can help our clients.
Promote Sustainable Investment in Affordable and Workforce Housing
Action is needed to provide more affordable, supportive and transitional housing opportunities in the city to sustain a viable workforce and increase access to quality services for all residents.
Affordable and workforce housing is needed across all zip codes, especially in areas with good transit options. Fairness and inclusion along this journey will be priorities for the new administration.
Recent public opinion polling by New York’s Regional Planning Association (RPA) and Global Strategy Group shows high cost of living remains the top concern for metro area residents. Fifty-two percent of residents say they’re dissatisfied with the availability of affordable housing and respondents say more affordable housing is the top way to address inequality in our region. Meanwhile, New York has nearly used up its $2 billion in emergency rental assistance and the state’s eviction moratorium will expire in January.
As experts in Public-Private Partnerships, we believe PPPs can be at the core of solving these complex problems by creating new jobs, housing, commercial and publicly accessible open space. This applies not only to new developments, but to the preservation of existing housing inventory. We are excited to work with the new administration, local electeds and housing agencies including NYCHA, HCR and HPD to continue emphasizing preservation as another key tool to solving the current crisis. Our team has played an important role in facilitating approvals, entitlements, financing, and incentives to promote sustainable solutions to the current housing and economic crisis. Examples of our work include the recently approved River Ring project in Williamsburg, the Terminal Warehouse revitalization in West Chelsea, and open space improvements at the BNY/Mellon World Headquarters in Lower Manhattan.
CLIMATE + SUSTAINABILITY
Invest in climate solutions that improve communities this decade
Long-term climate and sustainability plans to transition to a sustainable, inclusive, low-carbon future are critical — and so are immediate steps that accelerate emissions reductions in the near-term.
Here are three examples of how the Adams administration can cut pollution and improve health in the near-term, while enabling us to meet our long-term climate goals.
- To decarbonize transportation, the administration should invest in charging infrastructure to electrify our cars, school buses, and delivery trucks; shift from petroleum diesel to renewable diesel or other biofuels to decarbonize the trucks and buses that will not electrify anytime soon; and redesign our streets to be safer and more attractive to pedestrians and cyclists.
- To decarbonize our buildings, implementing the new Local Law 154 of 2021 will ensure that new buildings use electric power, rather than fossil fuels. As a complementary strategy, the administration should implement Local Law 97 of 2019 in ways that also encourage emerging, cost-effective technologies to decarbonize existing buildings that will use natural gas for years to come.
- To decarbonize the energy sector, the City must move forward with its commitment to power citywide government operations by renewable energy by 2025 — and it should invest in projects that will increase energy reliability and climate resiliency at the local level.
Capalino works with companies and nonprofit organizations that are helping ensure that New York City will be a leader in the transition to the low-carbon economy of the future.
TECHNOLOGY INNOVATION + ACCESS
Help students recover from a year of lost learning
The city’s roughly one million public school students have missed out on a lot of educational learning due to the pandemic, particularly the 600,000 students who learned remotely last year.
Mayor Adams has outlined several key technology priorities for his administration, including:
- Establishing a mandatory, inclusionary internet
- Democratizing access to City services through a single portal for all City services and benefits
- Closing the digital divide through the deployment of universal broadband services
- Continuing the focus on a robust cyber security infrastructure, by bolstering its cybersecurity program and capabilities
- Establishing New York City as the technology hub of the world
New York State and local government agencies spent an estimated $118B on technology in 2021. During this same time, New York State and New York City agencies spent $3.9B and $1.8B respectively, making New York one of the largest IT markets in the country.
Capalino has been assisting technology companies to drive success by helping them navigate the business and political landscape and developing strategic growth initiatives to take advantage of this market.
Support New York’s hospitality and restaurant industry
As one of the largest drivers of New York’s economy, it’s critical to rebuild NYC’s hospitality and tourism industry. Local restaurants and bars are a key component of the City’s tourism industry, which is our economic engine, as well as the heart of our communities. Business leaders are trying to devise plans to revive the hospitality sector which employs over 16 million people and provides ladders of opportunity to women, people of color, single mothers, immigrants, and the formerly incarcerated.
Capalino has a long history of partnering with the hospitality and restaurant sector to help well-known operations such as Ian Schrager Hotels, the Gramercy Park Hotel, Chatwal Hotels, the Four Seasons Restaurant, Knickerbocker Hotel, the River Café and Union Square Hospitality Group. We also helped clients attain federal and state funding and partnered with key leaders to revitalize the restaurant industry including leading Future of New York programs with Fred Dixon, head of NYC & Co; Andrew Riggie, Executive Director of the New York City Hospitality Alliance; and Tom Collichio, celebrity chef and owner of Crafted Hospitality. In addition, Capalino has raised hundreds of millions of dollars for cultural institutions which are vital to the City’s economy including recently securing $4 million for the Manhattan Theatre Club, one of the few remaining non-profits on Broadway, to assist with renovations.
HEALTHCARE + LIFE SCIENCES
Equal access to vaccines and healthcare
As the Covid 19 pandemic continues to impact New York, we need to continue to drive equitable access to vaccines to protect New Yorkers, while driving economic recovery and growth. Capalino has been helping clients, including Somos Community Care and others, in efforts to protect, test and vaccinate New Yorkers against Covid. We also worked with FWD.us to secure passage of the NY HERO Act to preserve the livelihood and safety of immigrants and all New Yorkers.
Make NY the Life Sciences Capital of the World
Mayor Adams has promised to change regulations to develop new industries, including making New York City “the life sciences capital of the world.” As Gotham has reported, “We will double-down on the existing life sciences initiative with incentives and zoning changes that will draw in private investment and federal dollars for research.” Mayor-Elect Eric Adams’ Biggest Campaign Promises (gothamgazette.com)
This builds on Adams’ prior accomplishments promoting life sciences. In July 2021, when Adams was Brooklyn Borough President, BioBAT received $50 million from the City’s LifeSci investment. According to the NYCEDC, this investment was made to expand lab space as part of the City’s life sciences initiatives.
SOCIAL + PUBLIC SECTOR
New York City contracts out many of its programs to nonprofits — from health care and housing assistance to shelter operation to nonprofit human service providers. Unfortunately, many of these partners have extensive delays in payment for services they provide to New Yorkers.
Given the sacrifice that human services organizations are making to meet the needs of children and families during the pandemic and government’s reliance on nonprofits to deliver critical services — it’s important that the historic partnership in creating the Joint Task Force: A Better Contract for New York announced by incoming Mayor Eric Adams and Comptroller Brad Lander yield concrete results to reduce payment delays, contract negotiation timeframes, and red tape for nonprofits.
“The City cannot deliver critical services to New Yorkers without our nonprofits — and so they must be treated fairly and responsibly by government,” said Mayor-elect Adams. “My partnership with Comptroller-elect Lander on this task force will repair long-standing failures of government that have harmed New Yorkers by harming our nonprofits, and also send the message to our providers and taxpayers that the City will run more efficiently and effectively as we face serious challenges in the months and years ahead.”
In addition to the contracting issues, the Adams administration should look at ways to support nonprofits with its staffing retention issues, COLAs, reimbursement rates and in a multi-year manner.
We’re glad to see that the administration is already starting to work together to solve long-standing issues in City governance that impact the delivery of services to New Yorkers. Capalino assisted many non-profits over the past year, including advocating for Fair Futures to secure over $20 million in City funding for services to help children aging out of foster care.
Building Back Better in 2022
New York City government has a tremendous impact on people’s everyday lives. As we start the new year, the new administration has an opportunity to build back better from the pandemic and positively impact New Yorkers’ lives. Capalino will be working with the administration to help accomplish the priorities above, as well as working with clients to help them achieve sustainable growth in New York. We will also continue our Future of New York program series highlighting key issues confronting New York with the thought leaders and changemakers driving NYC’s future.